The Advantages of Insulating Concrete Forms [ICF’s] (Fr. Epifanios Kapritsas, NY)

NOTE: Fr. Epifanios, a dentist by trade, is originally from Toronto. He became a novice in 1996 at St. John the Theologian Monastery in Picton, Canada. He immigrated to the United States in the spring of 1997 and settled at the Arizona monastery where he was tonsured a rassaphore. In 1999, he relocated to Roscoe, NY where he helped found and establish the St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Monastery, Inc. Fr. Epifanios also owns the Archangel Michael Christianorthodox Cemetery Ltd in Roscoe, New York (NY)

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St. Nektarios Monastery and ICF’s

If you travel northeast across the Pennsylvania state line you’ll come to the town of Roscoe, New York. Tucked in the hills of Roscoe is the St. Nektarios Monastery. Founded in 1998 by Archimandrite Ephrem of Philotheou Monastery, St. Nektarios is home to 19 residents. In addition to those that live there full time, St. Nektarios also houses groups coming to the monastery for retreats. Attendance for those those retreats can range from 20-50 people.

The fathers' quarters was originally advertised as a project to build a new, larger womens' quarters. After the project began, the Abbot changed his mind and decided the project would be for a new fathers' quarters.
The fathers’ quarters was originally advertised as a project to build a new, larger womens’ quarters.

As the monastery continues to grow it has seen the need to add housing to the campus. There are currently two dormitory facilities under construction, both of which are taking advantage of the benefits offered through the use of Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF’s).
A recent visit to the monastery provided us with an opportunity to speak with Father Epifanios Kapritsas. Father Epifanios gave us a tour of the grounds and discussed the decision to use ICF’s. “It is a superior building method. Concrete buildings have been done in Europe for centuries, and they are still standing to this day. ICF construction in combination with concrete is a clean, permanent way to construct a building that will be here for 100+ years” he stated.

ICF 2“There are numerous advantages to building with ICF’s; the walls can be left exposed (without a roof on) during the winter with no damage to the structure during the construction phase. This would not be possible with wood construction. The insulation factor is excellent. Concrete walls have high thermal mass: the building tends to be cooler inside in the summer months, and retains heat better in the winter months so energy bills are lower.”

ICF 3“There are numerous advantages to building with ICF’s; the walls can be left exposed (without a roof on) during the winter with no damage to the structure during the construction phase. This would not be possible with wood construction. The insulation factor is excellent. Concrete walls have high thermal mass: the building tends to be cooler inside in the summer months, and retains heat better in the winter months so energy bills are lower.”

ICF 4He further stated that, “ICF construction simplifies the steps of the construction: no need to plywood, tyvek, or insulate the walls. The interior of ICF walls are ready to accept drywall. The exterior of the building is ready to accept stucco, or stone. You can visualize the external appearance of a structure (window & door openings) as you erect ICF’s prior to pouring. There is a sound insulation factor that makes the inside of the building very quiet to outside noise. Walls are not affected by moisture and humidity as wood is; hence, no mold, rotting, warpage or odor occurs, as associated with wood. Installation is easier than steel erection. No crane, or welding required. The foam blocks are lightweight and easy to cut. The overall cost is less than a steel framed structure.”

Fr. Epifanios Kapritsas, NY.
Fr. Epifanios Kapritsas, NY.

Father Epifanios also noted the fire safe construction appeal of using ICF’s and concrete; “In case of a fire, the framework of the structure will be left intact.”

The monks' quarters view  from the garden.
The monks’ quarters view from the garden.

http://mastersconcrete.com/index.php/site/news/icf_project_offers_advantages_for_monastery/

http://www.specifyconcrete.org/project-profiles/view/st-nektarios-monastery/

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